Former Sunderland and England striker Kevin Phillips feels Everton may try to sign Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff even though they don’t really need him.
Longstaff, 23, came up through the Magpies youth setup and penned his first professional contract in 2018. The North Shields-born star made his first-team debut in December 2018 and has made 69 appearances in all competitions to date. He enjoyed 23 Premier League outings in 2019-2020 and 22 last season.
But he has started only 29 of those matches and may be ready to seek a new challenge. Toffees boss Rafael Benitez knows him well from his time at St James’ Park.
And a report earlier this week claimed the Merseysiders’ chief was keen to reunite with his former charge. Joe Willock’s arrival on Tyneside has pushed the local man further down the pecking order.
He may now be a target for Everton. Phillips believes that a move could be on the cards as the Spanish tactician has already recruited one former player.
“Do I think Everton need him? Possibly not,” he told Football Insider. “Benitez is going down that route though, he’s already signed Andros Townsend and he had him at Newcastle.”
It was reported by The Athletic earlier this week that Everton and Newcastle have discussed a possible deal for the player.
Benitez is clearly a big fan of the former Blackpool loan man. And it is said the pair are still in contact.
Longstaff exit could help Newcastle recruitment
The summer transfer window will not close until the end of the month. Newcastle are not known for doing too much transfer business but acquired Joe Willock for around £25m.
It seems unlikely there will be many more additions to Steve Bruce’s ranks. But the sale of Longstaff might free up some much-needed funds from Mike Ashley.
Phillips feels it could be a sensible move for the north-east outfit but questioned Everton’s motives for the deal.
“Longstaff hasn’t played loads of Premier League games but he does have that experience,” he added. “From Newcastle’s point of view, he doesn’t play that often and it could be great business to move him on.
“It would free up a wage for Bruce to get someone with a bit more experience. I’m surprised Benitez is in for him but he obviously likes him and Longstaff played well under him.
“It’s a surprising one, I’m not sure Everton need him.”